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WB/Uruguay: Improvements in Sanitation and Risk Management will Benefit Population

July 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2012 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a project to improve management at the State Sanitation Works Office (Administración de Obras Sanitarias del Estado, OSE) in Uruguay. The US$84 million Sustainable and Efficient OSE project will receive US$42 million from the World Bank, with the rest being financed by that public agency.

In recent years, OSE, the company responsible for delivering water and sanitation services in Uruguay, has faced operational challenges due to gravely distorted climate patterns that have led to floods and droughts.

In order to mitigate these risks, the project will promote greater reliability in the water supply and sanitation systems through improvements in OSE efficiency and management capacity. Projects to be financed include clean water plants in Durazno and Treinta y Tres (states in the center and north of Uruguay, with 110,000 inhabitants).

“This project implies a great opportunity to improve the company’s comprehensive management. It includes investments focused on improving the quality, reliability and security of the water supply; adapting and building infrastructure as well as promoting projects and engineering works to reduce the volume of water losses through activities aimed at an efficient energy use,” said Milton Machado, President of OSE. “Without a doubt, this loan will lend continuity to the improvements we have been carrying out, enabling us to continue with the modernization while making OSE more efficient.”

The new initiative will also support activities directed at controlling water losses and enhancing energy efficiency, as well as actions aimed at improving OSE’s corporate, environmental and social management.

“We support the entrepreneurial and modernizing spirit at OSE in order to bring better services to Uruguayans,” said Peter Siegenthaler, World Bank Representative in Uruguay. “This is a sustainable and efficient development program that is going to have a very positive impact on the quality of life of Uruguayans, allowing more people to have access to clean water and sanitation.”

The project contemplates four key objectives:

1) Investing in the reliability of running water infrastructure – improves the water supply by financing the construction, expansion and rehabilitation of facilities to enhance the reliability of OSE’s running water systems and adapt them to future climate challenges.

2) Improving the efficiency of water and energy management – finances water and energy programs to maximize current conservation efforts and OSE’s future operational capacity.

3) Planned risk management – finances planning and risk evaluation activities to improve OSE’s social outreach, environmental management and economic efficiency.

4) Knowledge exchange – finances knowledge exchange and technical support activities.

The Sustainable and Efficient OSE Project supports OSE’s Strategic Plan and falls within the 20 plus-year relationship between OSE and the World Bank.

The US$42 million Specific Investment Loan (SIL), guaranteed by the National Government, has a variable margin and a 23-year maturity period, including a 5-year grace period.

Media Contacts
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Marcela Sanchez-Bender
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